Step 1: Full registration at the Asylum Service
You will be invited to submit your application in person to one of the Regional Asylum Offices or Units. You may also submit applications for members of your family, if they are with you in Greece and they wish to do so too.
In order to submit your asylum application you are entitled to the assistance of an interpreter provided by the authorities.
When submitting your application, you must answer with absolute sincerity all questions asked by the Asylum Service staff. If you provide false evidence or make false claims, this may have a negative effect on the judgment of your case.
When you submit your application for international protection, you and any members of your family, will be photographed. You and any person above the age of 14 in your family will also be fingerprinted. Your fingerprints will be entered into the European Central Database EURODAC and if the conditions are met, your application might be examined by another EU member state (see “Dublin III”).
You will have to submit to the asylum service your travel documents (passport) and any other document you may have in your possession that is relevant to the examination of your application, the verification of yours and your family members’ identity, your country of origin, as well as your family status.
The Asylum Service will determine a date for your examination interview and be given an asylum seekers card (full registration). The date of your interview appointment will be printed on your asylum seekers card, as well as the date of expiry of the card. You must present in person to the asylum office in order to renew your card before it expires. You must also present in person to the asylum office on the date of your examination, otherwise your case examination will be interrupted and your card will no more be valid.
Step 2: Interview with the Asylum Service
On the date of the detailed interview you have to go to the Asylum Office. During this interview, the Asylum Service employee will ask you questions regarding the information provided in your application, including information on your identity, on how you came to Greece, on the reasons why you left your country of origin, or the country where you used to live and the reasons why you cannot or do not wish to return to that country. During the interview, you may also submit any other evidence that you consider necessary. The Asylum Service can decide to keep documents if they need them to make their decision and will give you a signed receipt for any documents submitted.
Please note that if you arrived on the Greek islands after the 20th March 2016, the procedure will vary. Depending on your nationality, the Greek Asylum Service may, in some cases, examine first whether Turkey is a safe country for you. If you receive a decision that you can continue your asylum procedure in Greece, the Greek Asylum Service will examine the reasons you left your country and whether you can return there. In this case you will be referred to the regular asylum procedure.
If you are a victim of torture, rape or any other serious violent act, you must inform the asylum authorities. You must also inform the authorities if you are pregnant, seriously ill or a person with disability.
You may ask to come into contact with UNHCR or any organization that provides legal, medical and psychological support. You can attend the interview accompanied by a lawyer or other counsellor (legal expert, doctor, psychologist or social worker).
Throughout the procedure you have the right to ask for the support of a lawyer or other counsellor of your choice.
If you wish, you may be allowed a short period of time in order to prepare for your interview and be advised by a lawyer or other counsellor with the aim of receiving support during the procedure.
If you are a woman, you may ask for your interview to be conducted by a female Asylum Service employee and a female interpreter, if available. In any case, you may ask for your interview and its interpretation to be conducted by an individual of the sex of your choice, provided you present a serious reason for such a request. Your request will be assessed by the Asylum Service.
If you are not able to communicate with the Asylum Service employee due to a language barrier, an interpreter will be present in the interview.
Everything you say during the interview is confidential. It will not be disclosed to your alleged persecutors, but can be shared with other Greek authorities.
You may visit the Asylum Service website for more information.
Step 3: The Greek authorities decide on your application
After the interview, the Asylum Service will make a decision about your application; whether to grant you refugee status, subsidiary protection, or to reject your application.
Please note that if you arrived on the Greek islands after the 20th March 2016, the procedure will vary. Depending on your nationality, the Greek Asylum Service may, in some cases, examine first whether Turkey is a safe country for you. If you receive a decision that you can continue your asylum procedure in Greece, you will be referred to the regular asylum procedure for a second interview with the Greek Asylum Service that will examine the reasons you left your country and why you cannot return there. It is usually after this second interview that the Asylum Service will decide to grant you refugee status, subsidiary protection, or reject your application.
When you go to the Asylum Office to renew your card, if the decision regarding your application is issued, it will be served to you.
The Asylum Service will inform you of the decision with the assistance of an interpreter in a language that you understand.
If you have changed your address or your telephone number, you must immediately notify the Asylum Service.
While the examination of your application is pending, you can withdraw it, if you so wish. In such a case, your application will not be examined, your stay in the country will not be allowed and you will have to leave Greece if you do not hold another residence permit.
If the Asylum Service rejects your application for asylum, you have the right to appeal (to ask the state to reconsider your case). To help you make your appeal and have your case examined at second instance, you have a right to use free legal aid. The deadline for submitting your appeal will be stated in the decision of the Asylum Service. For more information about the appeal procedure you can visit the website of the Asylum Service.
If your appeal is again rejected, you have the right to go to court. A lawyer can help you understand the details and rights of this process. If you receive a final decision that your application has again been denied, you may be returned to your home country or the country you came from before you entered Greece.